New grants for Clearwater and area businesses hurt by last year’s wildfires

Community Futures offers funding for marketing and training to businesses impacted by wild fires

By Jaime Polmateer / The Times

Community Futures is launching a pair of grants geared toward supporting local businesses impacted by last year’s wildfires.

The Wildfire Marketing Grant and Wildfire Training Grant, both of which fall under the Wildfire Business Transition Program and launched on June 20, look to help businesses’ recovery efforts.

According to the Thompson Nicola Regional District’s (TNRD) Economic Recovery Work Plan, 80 per cent of businesses hurt by last year’s fires said help with marketing would be the top beneficial recovery measure.

“Businesses can receive up to $1,500 in marketing grant money and they just have to match that at 25 per cent,” said Blair Gray, general manager of Community Futures Thompson Country, told a recent meeting of the District of Clearwater.

Anyone interested in taking advantage of the grant program must fill out an application and identify what areas the $1,500 will have the most impact in regarding their specific businesses.

“Businesses can identify what they’re gaps are and what they think will have the most impact for them; it will be really effective that way because it’s not prescribed,” said Stephanie Molina…

“What will be really impactful for the businesses is they can drive more interest to themselves through these marketing dollars; a lot of them have been operating for a while so they know their clientele, their visitors, what their markets are and I think they have a lot of ideas about how they can better target who they want to come when using the funds Community Futures has made available.”

Because funding for the grants is limited it’s being done on a first come, first served basis.

The Wildfire Training Grant aims to help businesses and not-for-profit organizations by giving funding for any needed training.

Interested companies and organizations can get up to $10,000 for employee training purposes from first aid or wilderness first aid to food safety training for restaurants.

“I’m sure the list is essentially endless for the kind of training and education and this is a cost that can be significant in terms of attracting and retaining employees,” Molina said.

“I know that can be challenge for businesses in our area and having this kind of training money will certainly help them with employees who may not have the background, but are certainly willing to stay and work here through the season, so I think that’s going to have a great impact.”

Applications for the Wildfire Marketing Grant and the Wildfire Training Grant are available at www.communityfutures.ca.

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